Strategic Plan 2017-2020 Midterm Report

Supporting our State. Building our Future.

Foundational Principles

Our strategic plan affirms a set of principles that provide the foundation on how we conduct business. These principles support FTB’s mission and guide the work to achieve our goals and implement our strategies.

Our Foundational Principles are as follows:

  • Protect taxpayer information and privacy.
  • Carry out our fiduciary responsibilities to taxpayers by managing their accounts with accuracy and financial integrity.
  • Operate with transparency to maintain public trust and confidence.
  • Conduct our business in accordance with the Statement of Principles of Tax Administration, Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, and our organizational values.

Projects Completed by Goal

The following are accomplishments and projects we completed during the first two years of our Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and a look-ahead at the next two years.

1. Taxpayer Centric Service

Enhance our services to help taxpayers fulfill their tax obligations.

Strategies

  • Evaluate customer experience needs across all service channels; develop and implement a roadmap to meet those needs.
  • Champion an organizational culture to achieve positive customer experiences.
  • Promote the use of self-service tools to improve service to our customers.
Accomplishments and Projects Completed (2017 and 2018)

Enhanced the customer experience as follows:

  • Created the Customer Service Dashboard, which offers accurate timeframes and wait times for our customers to choose which service channel to use.
  • Improved the amended return process by eliminating Form 540X, Amended Individual Income Tax Return and created Schedule X, California Explanation of Amended Return Changes, allowing our customers to e-file amended returns.
  • Enhanced the current mobile application so customers can make payments and utilize text messaging capabilities.
  • Implemented Power of Attorney 2.0, which provides secure services to authorized taxpayer representatives.
  • Incorporated Customer Experience principles and processes in several enterprise-wide projects and programs.
Looking Ahead (2019 and 2020)

We will continue to enhance Taxpayer Centric Service by:

  • Improving customer service delivery by optimizing customer flow and reducing wait times at our public service counters.
  • Expanding the use and awareness of MyFTB by researching and analyzing marketing options to develop new marketing strategies.
  • Continuing to identify and create opportunities to increase positive taxpayer experience through the use of our Customer Experience principles.

2. Effective Compliance

Fairly administer the law to ensure taxpayers file and pay the correct amount.
Strategies

  • Identify noncompliant taxpayer segments and customize our actions to improve compliance.
  • Discover and implement new approaches to increase compliance in the most egregious areas of abuse.
  • Improve data, information, and knowledge sharing with the tax community and government partners.
  • Improve case selection in all compliance programs.
  • Improve timeliness in all compliance programs.
Accomplishments and Projects Completed (2017 and 2018)

Furthered our compliance efforts as follows:

  • Researched the digital economy to identify how income is or is not reported to improve outreach and compliance efforts.
  • Built upon our successful partnership with the Employment Development Department to identify new opportunities to improve the accuracy of return processing and the service we provide to wage-earning taxpayers such as timely refunds. This effort includes developing a partnership with the payroll industry whose services for employers and their employees is critical for accurate return processing.
  • Published an external California Cannabis Portal dedicated to the business of adult-use marijuana and worked in partnership with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to create tools to assist with compliance.
  • Increased the efficiency of the Business Entity Delinquency Notice Process by creating more effective notices to taxpayers, reducing backlogs, and decreasing response time to taxpayers.
Looking Ahead (2019 and 2020)

We will continue to improve Effective Compliance efforts by:

  • Exploring “nudging” techniques and using behavioral science to influence positive decision making that improves compliance.
  • Identifying priority segments of “red-path” or non-compliant taxpayers to develop strategies to bring them into compliance at the least impact and cost to the State and to taxpayers.
  • Replacing two legacy computer systems with an innovative enterprise data warehouse, which will optimize compliance activities.

3. Strong Organization

Invest in our employees, challenge and empower them to be experts in their field, and help them achieve their full potential.
Strategies

  • Prioritize and implement the Talent Management Program services to help us recruit, train, and retain our employees.
  • Support an environment where decisions are made at all levels by those who have both the expertise and best information.
  • Increase employee engagement and job satisfaction by assessing and enhancing culture, workplace environment, and employee recognition.
Accomplishments and Projects Completed (2017 and 2018)

Continued to invest in our employees as follows:

  • Hosted the first Career Awareness and Resources Event, which offered insight into the career possibilities at FTB and highlighted resources and tools available to assist in career development.
  • Surveyed FTB staff and used the results to develop a baseline of employee satisfaction allowing the identification of areas needing improvement.
  • Enhanced our onboarding process by using successful best practices, developing a presence in our Talent Management web portal, and producing a comprehensive onboarding service video.
  • Identified critical knowledge throughout FTB to focus and prioritize knowledge transfer activities.
Looking Ahead (2019 and 2020)
  • We will continue to invest in our workforce by:
  • Further defining staff engagement and empowerment and developing a curriculum to ensure these are the cultural norm.
  • Establishing a structured, online process for employees to use to plan and monitor their personal career development.
  • Performing a follow-up survey of staff to determine whether new programs are addressing the results of the previous survey, and making adjustments if necessary.

4. Operational Excellence

Optimize processes, products, and resources to better serve our customers.
Strategies

  • Manage budgeted resources at the enterprise level and use performance metrics to meet short- and long-term business needs.
  • Use data modeling and analytics to enhance operations.
  • Leverage and modernize IT systems and processes to support enterprise business activities, including financial, human resources, and nontax programs.
  • Mitigate emerging and evolving threats and manage risks to maintain taxpayer privacy and security.
  • Standardize our hardware and software to optimize operations.
Accomplishments and Projects Completed (2017 and 2018)

Improved our business and IT environments as follows:

  • Established the ability to submit liens and releases electronically to several California counties using a secure government-to-government web portal.
  • Implemented the Enterprise Intake process to prioritize IT efforts.
  • Determined the root cause of incoming correspondence and reduced customer contacts by implementing changes to the least effective notices.
  • Identified segments of the population that filed, paid, or corresponded using paper and developed strategies to move this population to available e-services.
  • Sought legislative remedy through Assembly Bill 2503 to improve the dissolution or cancellation of businesses and established a process in partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Looking Ahead (2019 and 2020)

We will continue our focus on Operational Excellence by:

  • Employing a secured infrastructure that provides the foundation for future business-to-business or business-to-consumer transmissions of data.
  • Improving service and processing of single payments for multiple non-tax debts providing form and manner of payment for both electronic and paper methods.
  • Implementing self-service options on FTB’s website and Interactive Voice Response applications that allow customers to request an Installment Agreement Skip Payment or Bill Payment Delay.
  • Allowing Political Reform Audit filers to respond to questionnaires electronically, attach supporting documents, and securely transmit to FTB.
  • Replacing the existing telephone system which is reaching end of life, with a new centrally located and scalable system that will meet current and future telecommunications requirements.

Partnership and Community Outreach Efforts 2017-2018

FTB’s accomplishments extend beyond our internal projects. We help to make a difference by aiding others in our community and in government through our partnership and outreach efforts. The following are activities we were involved in during the first two years of our Strategic Plan.

California Disaster Relief and Local Assistance Centers

To  aid in the relief effort for those impacted by the worst wildfire season in California’s history,   FTB loaned employees to Local Assistance Centers in several California counties. Assistance includes replacing lost tax records, providing needed tax forms, answering account questions, and guidance on how to claim loss deductions.

California Earned Income Tax Credit

FTB continues to reach out to California taxpayers who are eligible for the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). This credit provides needed funds to less fortunate Californians. FTB contracts with the California Department of Community Services and Development to administer $10 million in grants to promote CalEITC. Promotion plans include updated brochures, posters, postcards, media interviews, short videos aimed at social media audiences, and even a CalEITC e-bus tour during tax season.

DMV Strike Teams Partnership

In August 2018, growing wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) attracted media attention as the full impact of the Real ID Act was realized. In response to a callout for assistance from the Governor’s Office and Government Operations Agency Secretary, Marybel Batjer, FTB activated 63 seasonal employees and redirected them to DMV Sacramento area locations within 24 hours.

FTB Selected for MIT’s J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative

In September 2018,  FTB entered into a partnership with two non-government entities to study “Nudging,” a behavioral science concept that uses influence and reinforcement to encourage positive decision making. This study will examine efforts to increase personal income tax compliance specifically in regard to return accuracy, gig economy workers, and claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Over the course of one year, the State and Local Innovation Initiative will provide $100,000 in grant funding, project and training support to FTB’s local academic partner, the California Policy Lab. This new partnership will allow FTB to analyze the data being collected from last year’s CalEITC efforts to increase participation in future years.

“Get Ready” Campaign on Federal Tax Reform

FTB recently launched a proactive “Get Ready” campaign to bring awareness and education to California taxpayers of the upcoming Federal Tax Reform changes and California’s non-conformity. The campaign includes a new Tax Reform Webpage on FTB’s website where information and videos will be posted. The “Get Ready” campaign also uses social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and informative videos on FTB’s YouTube page. This campaign will continue into the 2018 filing season and is expected to conclude at the end of March 2019.

Interagency Agreement with CalTrans

In November 2017, FTB entered into an interagency agreement with the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) to assist them in meeting their data processing deadlines and eliminating their backlog. FTB staff processed nearly 200,000 documents from the years 2015 through 2018. This accomplishment came six months earlier than anticipated and, according to CalTrans, was the first time in 28 years they were caught up. In August of 2018, approximately 50 FTB employees who had participated in this effort were recognized at a celebration and received a “Certificate of Partnering Excellence” from CalTrans Director and Deputy Director.

Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate’s Office Presentations

Our Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate’s Office (TRAO) gave informative presentations during 2017 and 2018. These included small business events, tax workshops, outreach to various business groups, and a presence at several conferences of professional organizations. The TRAO is independent of FTB’s audit and collections areas and its goal is to protect taxpayers’ rights and ensure that taxpayers’ problems are handled promptly and fairly.

In Closing

FTB will continue to work toward its strategic goals while keeping its focus on the future of tax administration. Our next strategic plan will cover years 2021-2025 and will continue FTB’s practice of Supporting Our State. Building Our Future.